Purpose: To evaluate which of six different commonly available stents inserted into an artery without percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) causes the least endothelial damage. To compare the degree of endothelial injury after insertion of such a stent with injury caused by PTA.
Methods: Twelve healthy pigs were used in the experiments. In the first part of the study six different types of stents were inserted into the common iliac arteries. In the second part of the study self-expanding stents with large spaces between the wires were used. PTA was performed in the contralateral iliac artery. The pigs were killed immediately after the procedure and resected specimens examined after fixation, using scanning electron microscopy.
Results: All procedures but two were accomplished successfully. More endothelium was preserved after insertion of self-expanding stents with large spaces between the wires, compared with stents with small spaces and balloon-expanded stents. After insertion of self-expanding stents with large spaces, 50.1% +/- 16.4% of the endothelium remained intact, compared with only 5.6% +/- 7.7% after PTA. The difference was statistically significant (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Self-expanding stents with large spaces between the wires, inserted without PTA, cause less damage to the endothelium than other stents and significantly less damage than PTA.